Last night while I was watching the Grammys, my ears perked up when the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Neil Portnow began addressing a certain two-time Grammy winner directly — President Barack Obama.
Potnow wasted little time getting to his point: He wants the president to create a new cabinet position, namely secretary of the arts. On stage he persuaded:
And to our new president, we have a request: Our finest national treasure is our culture and the arts. It's also one of our most embraced and economically significant exports all around the world.
So it's time that we acknowledge that fact with the creation of a cabinet position of secretary of the arts to promote and develop this vital contribution to society everywhere.
Recognizing art and artists with a cabinet-level position would surely send a strong signal that America is serious about fostering a meaningful and vibrant culture, just as it's serious about defense or agriculture. Then again, you could argue that the government should only sponsor projects that benefit the public in concrete ways, and that the art business should thrive independently. What do you think?